Charlotte Dellal of Charlotte Olympia (above)
Any die hard fashionista will attest to their love for Charlotte Olympia shoes, which is why I was interested to meet the founder and designer Charlotte Dellal during her Asian tour with accessories retailer, On Pedder.
Hot off the heels from winning the coveted Accessory Designer 2011 award at the British Fashion Awards, Dellal was quite the celebrity and “it” girl in her native Britain even before she launched her eponymous label in 2007. Half-Brazilian, half-British, she graduated from London’s famed Cordwainers school and honed her skills at brands such as Ungaro and Giambattista Valli before deciding to strike out on her own.
Inspired by vintage glamour of the 1940s and 1950s, the brand is known for its quirky statement sandals and boots. It’s quickly become a favourite with style icons including Kate Moss, Sarah Jessica Parker, Keira Knightly, Blake Lively, Katy Perry and Beyoncé, so rest assured you will be in good company!
Tonight she will host a cocktail at On Pedder in Central to launch her spring/summer 2012 collection, Sirens, which is inspired by 1950s Miami with its deck chair stripes, pink flamingo feathers and Art Deco pastels. She’s also designed four worldwide exclusives for the boutique based on her best-selling Dolly platforms. It comes in four new fabrications including nude satin, metallic leather, trendy leopard print and Swarovski crystals.
While I have yet to own a pair, I managed to grab Charlotte for a quick chat to find out what her favourite pair of shoes are and why she is swapping her seven inch heels for flats these days. Needless to say, I will be buying a pair of Charlotte Olympia’s very soon.
Must-have styles from Charlotte Olympia including (from top left, clockwise): Paloma, Dolly, Isla and Melody.
What inspired you to become a shoe designer?
I wanted to be a fashion designer from an early age, but it was only during my foundation year at London College of Fashion that I decided to specialise in designing shoes. My tutor suggested I apply to Cordwainers, as I was designing different shoes and accessories for each outfit. Once I made my first pair of shoes I knew it was the right decision. Which woman wouldn’t want to be able to make her own shoes?!
What is it you love most about shoes?
It’s inexplicable, its almost like it comes from within; women need shoes! It’s like an eternal love affair.
How would you sum up the Charlotte Olympia style?
Someone who dresses from the feet up!
Your shoe guru is…
I love Salvatore Ferragamo, his designs were colourful and glamorous using innovative materials.
The most memorable design I ever created was…
My signature shoe, Dolly. It’s a classic court shoe with a modern silhouette. It is a style I bring back every season in different colours and materials.
My favourite pair of shoes in my own personal collection is…
Ones that make me smile and feel special. My current favourite from the spring/summer collection are She Sells Sea Shells, a glamorous and ornate gold sandal adorned with shells and pearls; something a mermaid would wear if she had feet!
Flats or heels?
More often than not I enjoy wearing high heels, but now that I have two little boys I find myself wearing my flat Kitty shoes a lot more. But my motto remains: “The higher the heel, the better you feel!”
Must-have shoe trend for SS12…
I don’t follow trends when designing, but a big one that appeared was under the sea. It fits perfectly with my mermaid and Art Deco shell references.
What inspires you?
The 1940s and 50s. I love old Hollywood glamour and movie stars and pin-ups from a bygone era.
How can you tell a well-made and designed shoe from a bad one?
If they are uncomfortable. I believe that heels should be able to be worn, walked in and danced in, not just to sit and look pretty in. I personally try all my prototypes to make sure they are as comfortable as super high heels can be. Both form and function are very much part of my design process.
What shoe style should every woman own in her wardrobe?
High-heeled red shoes. My Paloma shoe is my ultimate red party shoe, which comes with matching red stockings to help dress you from the feet up!
Tell us about your latest collection…
For autumn, the Over the Moon collection draws reference from Georges Méliès silent movie A Trip to the Moon. I particularly like Luna, a classic court shoe with a Man in the Moon silhouette. I just can’t decide which colour I prefer!
Charlotte Olympia is available exclusively at On Pedder in Hong Kong and Singapore (for full store locations visit www.onpedder.com).